Aisla the Highland cow...a story about being seen
Oswald the owl, known as Ossie by his friends, was asleep in his hole in the tree after a very successful night hunting for food. He felt full and content and was dreaming of his success when he was woken by some very strange noises. The tree began to vibrate… a deep sort of rumbling noise, almost backwards and forwards… He didn’t feel very safe. He wondered what could be happening. He stirred, opened his very large eyes one at a time and moved so that he could see out of the tree. There beneath him crashing against the tree and reaching up as high as she could was none other than a young and rather smart looking highland cow. “Who are you”? asked Ossie. “I’m Aisla” she replied…she couldn’t see him….in fact she very rarely saw anything as her beautiful long hair hung down between her eyes. It was great for keeping flies away. It was great to hide behind when she didn’t want to see what was happening. Or want anyone to see her especially when she had not been quite the sort of cow she was expected to be. It was not so great when she was trying to see who was talking to her.
“What are you doing to my tree?” asked Ossie. “Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know it was your tree” she replied. “I’m just trying to reach that rather tasty bunch of leaves hanging down” and as she lifted her head to have another go at reaching the leaves, she could just make out Ossie looking down at her. “I wondered what was happening. I was asleep ….” said Ossie. Aisla had stopped listening all she wanted was to get on with the challenge of reaching her next mouthful of food. She twisted her head so that her horns caught the branch and she pulled it down. Now if she could just grab the edge of the lowest leaf she could begin to eat. That’s what she did. She began to nibble away at the bottom leaf and then the ones just above.
Now Ossie had very clever eyes specially for seeing in the dark. He didn’t need night vision goggles to see the small creatures that were his prey. His body stayed very still, and his head could turn 270 degrees either way so he could twist and see all around him. He was also good at ‘seeing’ things in a different way too. As he watched Aisla he realised that if she carried on eating the small branch it might bounce back and be out of her reach again. “Hoot, hoot” he called “isn’t that branch going to spring back out of your reach?” No sooner had he said it, than it happened. Aisla was frustrated as she was enjoying those leaves.
Ossie, looked right round and saw more highland cows feasting on nearby trees. As he watched he saw that they were helping each other. The older, bigger, stronger and more experienced ones holding down big branches as the younger cows like Aisla enjoyed some of the leaves they could then reach. “Aisla, why didn’t you stay with the rest of the fold, they could have helped you” (a fold is what a group of highland cows are called, not a herd like other cows). Aisla, hung her head and now she couldn’t see anything, but she said, “I wanted to try and find food all by myself I am nearly grown up now!” But Ossie, who was known for his wisdom replied “sometimes we all need help for a little bit longer than we think and that’s ok. It’s good to do things together as we all see things differently and do things differently. We need to look out for each other” he hooted . Aisla, shook her hairy head, so she could see more clearly, looked up as far as she could and gave Ossie a gentle moo saying thank you and moved off to join the rest of the fold and continue eating her way through the day. Ossie settled back into his hole in the tree, closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep dreaming of…I wonder what!